Fathers and Daughters review

Mr Crowe is very effective at doing seizures. He has about four of them in this soapy melodrama, his hand beginning to judder under stress and then his whole body shaking violently as he collapses in various bathrooms away from prying eyes. It's the only thing about his character that convinces unfortunately.

He certainly can't be believed as a Pullitzer prize winning author, struggling to bring up his young daughter (a spirited Rogers) in New York alone after a horrific car crash in which he was driving kills his wife. Trying to make ends meet teaching while cooking up his next literary opus, while also fending off his bitter sister-in-law (Kruger) and her smoothly manipulative husband (Greenwood) who are making efforts to adopt his daughter, is a slightly stronger story strand to the parallel narrative that features Seyfried as the girl 25 years later. Here she is wrestling with her own emotional dilemmas while embarking on a romance with idealistic writer Paul. The troubled romance between them is never remotely compelling despite her impassioned efforts to show the torments raging in her.

The constant cutting between the two timelines keeps boredom at bay but cannot mask the plastic and syrupy dramatics that envelop this woeful enterprise. It's good looking and the great Fonda is on engaging display as Crowe's agent, but overall it never feels genuine at any juncture. Professional in all departments but devoid of real heart, it consequently fails to be the emotional powerhouse it so wants to be.

Fathers and Daughters at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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